By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
RENTON — Mike Holmgren could be on an island right about now, sipping a Mai Tai and watching the waves crash on the warm sand.
But retired life will have to wait, and so instead Holmgren is staring at this.
In what will be his final season as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Holmgren has seen his team endure an inordinate amount of injuries and limp to an 0-2 start. But if the 60-year-old Holmgren is having any second thoughts about putting off his retirement, he certainly didn’t let on Monday.
“Is it disappointing? Absolutely,” Holmgren said of the team’s poor start. “I’m more ticked off than discouraged, though.”
This marks just the third time in Holmgren’s 17-year career as a head coach when his team has started 0-2. It happened twice with his Seahawks teams, both of which went on to finish with sub-.500 records.
But despite the rough start, Holmgren has not lost the faith for the 2008 team. He said it’s too early to start doing the math on playoff possibilities.
“We happen to be injured right now, but it could happen anywhere, at any time, to anybody, on any team, and then all of a sudden the math goes out the window,” he said. “We’ll just keep taking them, playing the games one at a time, (and) see what happens.”
Holmgren also cautioned not to use the injuries as the lone excuse for his team’s rough start.
“The receivers have nothing to do with a blocked punt — not one single thing,” Holmgren said, referring to one of the problems that plagued Seattle on Sunday. “The receivers don’t have anything to do with a ball thrown deep down the middle.”
The players are still hoping to turn things around and send Holmgren out in style.
“There is tons of respect for him in this locker room,” defensive end Patrick Kerney said. “What he has done for so long has been so effective, and it hasn’t really changed. So in turn, we’re just following his lead.”
Jennings to play: Holmgren announced Monday that cornerback Kelly Jennings broke a rib in Sunday’s game, but it didn’t keep him off the field.
Jennings took a pain killer and finished the game. Holmgren said he’ll be limited in practices this week but that he’ll be on the field for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
“I’m not big on the pain stuff, so I’ll be good,” Jennings said.
Josh Wilson is likely to practice in his spot this week.
Wallace in regret: Rarely does a professional athlete admit that he or she wasn’t prepared for battle, but Seneca Wallace did just that on Monday.
The Seahawks’ backup quarterback said he probably shouldn’t have been trying to play receiver with so little practice time. He hurt his calf in warmups before Sunday’s game and is expected to miss three to four weeks.
“Maybe I added a little more pressure to myself because I wanted to perform,” he said. “You’ve got to be patient with some things, and I probably rushed it a little bit.”
Holmgren said that teams are required to submit their list of inactives 90 minutes before kickoff, adding that Wallace’s injury happened too late for the team to de-activate him and suit up another player before Sunday’s game.
For Wallace, an afternoon full of possibilities ended far too soon.
“It felt like somebody shot me from the stands, shot me in the calf,” he said. “I felt a pop. But hopefully, I won’t be out long.”
The Martz factor: Part of the reason for Seattle’s defensive struggles on Sunday was the man calling plays for the 49ers.
Former Rams head coach Mike Martz is San Francisco’s offensive coordinator, and the longtime Seattle rival proved that he has a pretty good grasp of what the Seahawks like to do.
“There are certain things we love to do on defense, and (Martz) attacked that,” Jennings said. “He did a great job of that.
“… We’ve played against him three or four times since I got here (in 2006), and he knows our scheme. But as a defense, you’ve got to do a better job of adjusting.”
Good-bye, Coutu? Holmgren acknowledged Monday that the plethora of injuries is likely to take away the luxury of keeping two kickers on the 53-man roster.
When the team makes roster moves today — a wide receiver and another quarterback are among the positions that could be addressed — it might be the end of rookie Brandon Coutu’s stint on the active roster.
The Seahawks have kept two kickers because they like both Coutu and veteran Olindo Mare. Due to his experience and superior kickoff ability, Mare has handled all the kicking duties in the regular season. Coutu has been inactive for both games.
Quick slants: Holmgren said that starting right tackle Sean Locklear has a chance of returning to action this week after missing two games with a sore knee, but it’s just as likely that the Seahawks will sit him another game and use the bye week to get Locklear healthy. The coaches like the way Ray Willis has performed as Locklear’s replacement, so there is no hurry to get Locklear back. … Wide receiver Deion Branch has continued to practice with the team, but Holmgren said he still might not be ready to return to game action.